Alex Castaldo on Learning Programming:
- They say it is impossible to learn Calculus if you get started after the age of
35, and the same is probably true of programming.
- Reading a book about programming is a little like reading about sex. It is more of
a do it type activity. You can certainly have some reference materials handy, but
ultimately the way to learn is "practice, practice, practice".
- You do not read "about programming", you have to study a specific programming
language. They tell me R, Python (or possibly Ruby) are the things people like to
get started nowadays (used to be VB and Java). But you must choose ONE and stick with
it until you achieve some competency. Then you can study a second one. But it is
completely counterproductive for a beginner to dabble in more than one language at
the same time.
- Though many people have managed to learn programming on their own, the discipline
of taking a class (the scheduled assignments, the realistic-size projects given to
you, the ability to ask questions when you are completely stuck, seeing whether other
students' experiences are similar to yours, etc.) would be very helpful in most cases
I would think.
When I was in class, there were a few mature students; they did ok.
We learnt a specific language first (Ada), I don't think it matters
what language you learn, as long as you learn the concepts first, once
you know them, only then apply them to the semantics of the specific
language you're using.
Once you learn what a chair is, you don't need to learn what it is
again, you just need to learn a new word to describe it when talking
to a Chinaman.
Much like a lot of talk on this list, we take concepts from one area
and try and see how they go in another. Once a concept is learnt,
through practice and experience, simply switch games, keep the
concepts and update the semantics.